Tuesday, April 28, 2015

All's well.

The house is still there, no trees down, not overrun with mice, no burst pipes. We had a grand time, although brief, and Ed went up a ladder and cleared the gutters of a winter's accumulation of soggy leaves, a good job done.

He drove our car (on his insurance) both ways, requiring it to move rather more briskly than is its wont. It, and we, are safely home – but then I began to wonder, will I have speeding tickets in tbe post in the next week? It's not policemen on motorcycles any more, as in the New Yorker cartoons; it's those cameras. In the immortal line from Fawlty Towers, spoken by Mr O'Reilly, “If the Good Lord had meant us to worry, He'd have given us things to worry about.”

It is hard, generally speaking, to track the downward trajectory which I mentioned the other day – but there was an opportunity. My husband is frailer and slower than when we were last in Strathardle, six months ago; there were lots of little ways to measure it.

I had intended to gather and cook “horta” (=dandelions) but never got around to it. Rachel was dubious – she thinks they must have a special kind of dandelion in Greece. But I did come back with a nice bagful of wild garlic. There's a splendid stand of it, discovered only last year, just where the drives to Cnoc Sualtach and the Borland leave the main road. Alexander pinches his from the Duke of Argyll.

I made a succesful spinach soup last night with a generous admixture of wild garlic. I've looked up recipes this morning for the rest of it – there are so many and they sound so interesting that I think we'll have to go back. It doesn't last. A couple more weeks, and it will disappear for another year.

No knitting took place whatsoever. I had sort of thought of starting another pocket square.

There was a new VK on the mat when we got back, however. I like those socks, no 17, except that it is against my religion to knit socks from patterns. I lie back and let the yarn do the work. Meg's article on the fundamental issue of decreasing is interesting, with a little variation on ssk which I mean to try. Debbie Newton's article on oversizing will repay more study. I haven't read Nancy Bush on Haapsalu yet. I think I've heard it all already, but I must try. A meaty issue, despite summer patterns.

Shawls are everywhere just now, aren't they?

Some of the new books sound interesting, too – as if I had room for them. (Ruth Rendell is fine on the iPad; knitting, no.) Amazon reinforced the temptation with an email message this morning – they've got good algorithms down there at Amazon.

“Wrapped in Color” (=shawls from Koigu) Would it get me going on the stash?

“Short Row Knits”, Carol Feller.

“Twigg Stitch”

“Knit in New Directions: A Journey Into Creativity” by Myra Wood. The enthusiastic customer reviews on Amazon make it sound a bit like Debbie New's “Unexpected Knitting”. Archie says – and it's good advice – always to read the bad reviews. In this case, they give it three stars and grumble that it is only suitable for experienced knitters. I guess I'd qualify.

“Knitting Reimagined”, Nicky Epstein. The bad reviews are rather helpful there – they complain of heavy wool and big needles, not my style.

I'd welcome comments on any of these. And that's not all....

I probably won't be back until next week.


  1. I would not bother with the Epstein either. I was able to look at it in the library and decided against buying it for our guild library.
    The Wood book is more interesting - think a slightly more adventurous Horst Schulz - but nothing like Unexpected Knitting

  2. Some recipes to consider:
    I think you would have to severely blanch dandelions before they would be edible.


  3. Welcome back. Our sorrel is up and looking ready to harvest some. Other than a sauce for salmon, I'm at a loss. I never trusted it would come back, so some research is in order. If you google Twigg Stitch you can find some links to the designer telling you how to do the stitch. If you like it, then the book has designs for using it. No mice, but no keys?

    1. Anonymous5:19 PM

      My dad used to love the cold soup my mother made with it (schav). I'm sure someone has a recipe on line.

      Elaine in NYC

  4. I loved your remarks on knitting socks from patterns. I did that only once; the pattern was fine and the people I knit them for loved them (Seaweed socks, a free pattern on ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/seaweed-socks-3). However, usually I knit socks as a rest from something complex or as a travel project I can do on autopilot, so I buy wildly colored yarn and as you say, let the yarn do the work. (Also, purposely putting holes in socks seems somehow wrong.)

    Enjoy the rest of your week.

    1. Anonymous8:42 PM

      Agree with kayT, Jean, and Southern Gal on sock knitting - kayT, love your comment on the logic of purposely putting holes in socks!
      - Beth in Ontario, with some gardening-induced nerve damage that means no knitting or weeding for a while

  5. We ate a good bit of dandelion salad when I was a kid -- just the leaves, picked from our yard north of Baltimore, rinsed well, and wilted à la spinach. I did not have a bold palate as a child, but I ate it up.

  6. I love the header - the photo is wonderful and tartan tablecloths!
    I ate ground elder (zevenblad in Dutch or seven leaves) for the first time this weekend, treated like spinach but cooked just a little longer. It is such a noxious weed and my allotment is full of it, I could eat it every day of the spring - I spend hours trying to root it out.

  7. Twigg stitch...meh, fiddly and not visually pleasing IMHO. I think there was an article in IWK, then I spotted the book in our local library. The article was sufficient.

  8. relieved to read other comments about sock knitting.. when i first discovered it... just a few years ago (yes i know) and then leaped in a big way - i loved all the sock books and ravelry patterns but really i keep buying "widly colored' yarn as the other commenter here described it.

    right now i have a very very stressful job managing customer support for a software company - the last thing i can do at night is follow a pattern as much as i want to ... sock knitting has been the answer - some nights tho i am too exhausted even for that - now that is light and warmer i am going to spend a half hour or so on the patio when i get home with my socks as a buffer from the day... fresh air, green things and knitting - an antidote !

    as to buying knitting books online - i have little room left in my wee apt so digital copies are fine (except for the holy few - Swansen, Zimmermann, and fair isle, color stranding books.

    sigh back to work (lunch hour posting)

  9. I really like the myra wood book, xrx books are usually very worth their price! the dandelion - only eat it young and it's very tasty if you use a recipe with hot bacon addition - which makes the bitterness so much more palatable! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/dandelion-salad-with-warm-bacon-dressing-106375
    no need for a lb of leaves - but you can leave the bacon amount if you like:)

  10. Sadly, the news today is that Ruth Rendell has died.

    1. Having loved her books for so long, it feels now that I've lost a friend. Thousands probably feel the same way - a tribute to her as a writer, the "mother" of so many interesting characters one wished to know better. We will miss her.